We all know that SPD shoes can be worn off the bike (that is why they were designed), however there are not many SPD shoes that you would want to wear off-bike. There are even fewer (if any) SPD shoes that look presentable in a smart workplace. As for getting into one of those nightclubs with a strict 'your name's not down' door policy, as things stand, no SPD shoe would get you past the bouncers.

If you do know of any SPD shoes that look like normal 'interview grade' work-shoes please tell.

If you have looked for such a shoe and not found anything remotely appropriate, what would be in your dream specification? A gore-tex liner? Reflective heel tab? Carbon-fibre reinforced toe-box?

I am also interested in SPD shoes that you can and do wear to work and at work, particularly if they look completely different to the 'Shimano Golfing Shoe'(TM) / 'Bling innit' efforts foisted on the cycling public.

I know some people do not see any point whatsoever in a SPD shoe that you can wear all day or as part of a mixed transportation journey (e.g. cycle to the train station, catch the train and/or tube...) - it is different strokes/different folks. Some of us want to ride like the Dutch do - everywhere and all the time - but with some decent SPD pedals and sensible footwear.

  • This could also apply to stuff like cycling shorts, helmets, goggles, jerseys... all very alien-looking attire. Commented May 24, 2011 at 15:23
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    If the interview is for a programming job in Cambridge (UK) then normal SPD shoes are "interview grade"...
    – Ian
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 20:36
  • 1
    – freiheit
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 21:02
  • Depending on your dress code, there are far more options these days. Specialized and Giro both make some for example
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 8:34

11 Answers 11


I wear a pair of Austin Pedal shoes by Keen to work at my government office every day.

They're a fine shoe—they look decent and accept SPDs.

They aren't anything special. There is no Gore-Tex liner (I think it'd be overkill for my commute most days). There is no reflective tab, though that would be nice. There is no carbon-reinforced toe-box—also probably overkill for my commuter shoe.

I think that they are a pretty good match for what they do. I have worn them to symphony, job interviews, and meetings with the higher-ups. No worries.

I guess that, since you really are polling, I would suggest that I wish that they came in more colors! It would be nice if there were more options. I purchased these specifically because they didn't look like cycling shoes—not that I think cycling shoes are distasteful. I did want something that I could wear around though, that would never be a potential distraction for others.

  • Thankyou - best answer so far! Did you buy these shoes so you could ride in to work and wear them all day? or did you not fancy any of the 'Shimano golf shoes'? Commented May 28, 2011 at 21:47
  • When I go to get on my bike, since it is my only transportation, I don't want it to be a production (find the "bike-shoes", get the "bike clothes", etc.). I wear these shoes every day, whether I plan to ride somewhere or not. If and when I get on the saddle, my shoes just magically click into my SPD's. I have road-shoes, also, for when I do longer road-rides. Cycling shoes have their place. It sure is nice, though, to have a shoe that takes cleats and can just go anywhere!
    – DC_CARR
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 16:09
  • YES. I bought them so that I could ride into work and wear them all day--also for working in my yard, going to parties, etc!
    – DC_CARR
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 16:09
  • Wow, they look great. They're not as pricey as I feared, either.
    – Мסž
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 5:00
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    The link is dead. :(
    – lmjohns3
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 22:56

How about these? You can make fashionable bike shoes :)

enter image description here

Now with Link: https://makezine.com/2011/09/29/how-to_high-heeled_clipless_bi/

  • 1
    Upvote for unusual and DIY (although pretty serious DIY). Also these shouldn't be unusual, as I imagine SPD heels, or at least an SPD option, could be popular.
    – Jason S
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 0:08
  • Yup - I've had a background idea to add cleats to some gumboots for those really wet-day commutes. Must do that...
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 9:56

I did that myself once :-) Cut a hole in the sole of some leather shoes and inserted the nylon foot plate from old SPDs. If you do decide to DIY, I recommend a slightly larger upper so your toes don't get cramped and reasonably stiff leather.

  • 1
    A cobbler might also be able to do this. Commented May 28, 2011 at 14:07
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    That's what I like to hear - the DIY R+D spirit lives on. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 10:15

These guys make some nice shoes with SPD pedals (MTB style) :


An example :

Nice SPD shoe


They do, but not all shops stock them and it can be a bit of a pain to find them. I get the feeling Shimano always have one "street shoe" in their range, other manufacturers are less consistent. I've been wearing the Shimano ones for years now and have had three different models so far. One trick is to replace the laces with plain black ones and colour in the reflective bits with a black permanent marker. That wears off after a few weeks but gets me through the interview.

The current pick for me is Shimano MT-32 series in black. I wear them everywhere instead of normal shoes (I keep my "normal shoes" at work so I don't have to wear wet cycling shoes all day in the winter).

Shimano MT-32

If you need more than that there's apparently a company in Italy that does hand-made leather cycling shoes that look very nice (and for the price they should). I looked at them once but decided I couldn't afford them.

  • 1
    I wear Shimano MT-[low number] shoes to, from and at work and they are fantastic. New ones are 'interview presentable' if your being interviewed by a cyclist. Completely fail the nightclub bouncer test though! Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 10:13
  • +1 I wore a pair like this on my long tour, and continued wearing them to work after that. I eventually gave them up when the sole wore off so much that the cleat dug into the floor, but they were great shoes for more than a year of hard use.
    – lmjohns3
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 22:55

The best answer I've found is the Exustar Stelvio. They have polished leather unventilated uppers. On close inspection they don't quite look dressy enough but they are good from a few feet away. The biggest disadvantage is they aren't sold in this country (USA) but can be ordered from overseas stores like SJSCycles easily (http://www.sjscycles.co.uk). Exustar SP705 Stelvio Leather SPD Touring/Commuter Shoes


They aren't really interview caliber but I wear DZR GMT-8's to work everyday. They work nicely for a laid back business casual. DZR has 3 other models if the GMT-8's aren't your style. You could also try Chrome's Kurk-Pro, but those are even less office appropriate. I think the main reason that companies don't make them is that they don't see a big market. I hope this changes as more people decide to bike-commute to work.
DZR GMT-8s: http://www.dzrshoes.com/product/gmt-8/
Chrome Kursk-Pro: http://www.chromebagsstore.com/shoes/kursk-pro.html

Here is a picture of a custom job on some dress shoes:

  • The custom dress shoes are getting there! Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 10:11

I bought a pair of Shimano MT51 SPD shoes: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=17047 and am really happy - they look like a pair of runners... not too formal, but not too 'Bike Shoe'. They are out of production/stock now, however there are similar ones out there... http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=46681

Or even a pair that look like ordinary runners: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=7610

They are not 'Formal', but do look like 'normal' shoes..


These seem great, if only way too expensive http://www.dromarti.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=10_28_26&products_id=29&number_of_uploads=0


I interviewed at a large corporation wearing Shimano M076s, and got the job. In fact, I'm wearing them at my desk right now.


  • 3
    I'm happy for you that you got the job, but I don't think that this answer is particularly helpful. Obviously dress codes and office etiquette are somewhat subjective, but that shoe clearly reads as "sport" and not "professional" or "formal."
    – Ryan
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 17:33
  • They honestly look pretty much like normal shoes, albeit with velcro straps. The question was about "normal shoes" that you would "want to wear off the bike", and these end up being just fine. Commented May 24, 2011 at 19:09
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    "normal shoes" with black and white stripes, studded soles, velcro straps and made of plastic. I'm sorry, but that just doesn't add up to me.
    – Мסž
    Commented May 24, 2011 at 23:29
  • The white rubs off quickly, so they end up just looking like black shoes. Nobody's looking at your shoes to see if they're laced. Commented May 25, 2011 at 4:47
  • +1: I don't think that your suggestion is great however I don't think that it deserves the large amount of down voting (-3 at this point) Commented May 31, 2011 at 0:40

In my eyes, it is impossible to make "smart" shoes with cleats. And why would you want to?

Almost all smart-looking shoes have a relatively thin sole, just a few millimeters. The cleats add quite a bit to the thickness sole, and to keep it acceptably light, it is invariably strongly profiled, invariably leading to a sneaker look. Also, mesh for breathability looks sneakerish.

Smart shoes are not meant for bodily activities. They breathe relatively little, and are relatively tight. They also are not as resilient to scratches, dirt, and moisture. Sweat is the enemy of shiny.

Cleated shoes scratch the dancefloor, a strong argument against!

A stronger, less flexible sole works better on the bike. Elsewhere, you want a flexible sole.

Some people, like me, prefer narrower shoes on the bike than on the street.

Why would you want to wear bike shoes for formal situations? Carry a pair of nice shoes, thats what backpacks are for. Or office drawers.

  • And it's nice to not have to have a pack with you, and not all trips are to the office. It's also nice if you're planning to cycle in street clothes. It's all about flexibility. Commented May 28, 2011 at 20:57
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    Dr Martens? Smart, as worn by policemen. They have a thick sole. And who says that you have to sweat like a pig just because you are on a bike? Cycling is vastly more efficient than walking, to get a given distance you are going to be fresher cycling than walking if you go at a moderate pace. So you are wrong there. So if I have an interview in town and want to get to the station on my normal bike but don't want to carry some extra smelly footwear? Sounds like you are a part time cyclist to me. Commented May 28, 2011 at 21:44

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